The Lean Sigma Scorecard Framework

Leadership communicates a clear vision of creating an injury-free workplace and spells out a strategy of how to get there.

The Lean Sigma Scorecard brings together the best of Lean Enterprise thinking, Six Sigma processes, and the Balanced Scorecard’s multiple perspective management. It combines the use of data to deploy strategy and drive improvement, as well as streamlining internal processes and procedures to maximize efficiency. The Lean Sigma Scorecard framework is uniquely positioned to address many of the shortcomings in traditional safety management.

The Balanced Scorecard has become the mainstay of business management since it was introduced in 1992. Today, just about all the Fortune 500 companies, as well as others, have some sort of scorecard with which their business is managed. The innovation of the Balanced Scorecard was that it proposed managing the business through a number of critical perspectives so as to have real-time information to respond to changing conditions and meet customer needs.

Six Sigma is a widely used, data-driven quality improvement process. Six Sigma has been successfully used by a number of multinational organizations in not only improvement of operations, but also outstanding safety outcomes. Manufacturing uses a discipline called Lean (Lean Manufacturing) that focuses on process speed and efficiency. This process has assisted a number of innovative organizations in garnering tremendous efficiencies in their operations, as well as becoming more nimble in product and process innovations.

The foundation on which the Lean Sigma Scorecard concept rests is a culture that is supportive of an injury-free workplace, as well as a climate that fosters cooperation of all the people within the organization to that end. The organization holds an injury-free workplace as a core value, and the people operate on this premise instinctually. The leadership communicates a clear vision of creating an injuryfree workplace and spells out a strategy of how to get there. To accomplish this, the organization must deploy strategy based on data and information, and the data should be utilized to drive the “right” organizational behavior so as the make the injuryfree workplace vision a reality.

The four cornerstones of the Lean Sigma Scorecard are stakeholder focus, internal organizational systems, operational processes, and fundamental safety procedures. These rest on a supportive culture and are driven by data and information. The stakeholder cornerstone looks at the needs of all of the organization’s stakeholders and tries to address them. Aligning the organization’s systems, supported by integrated operations and driven by data collected from the stakeholders, results in a 360-degree, holistic approach to the creation of an injury-free workplace.

This then feeds into a larger system of customers, competition, communication, finance, banking, etc., to name a few. All of these in some way exert some degree of influence on the decisions the workers make every day in performing their tasks, influenced by the actions and behaviors of supervision and management. (Some of these decisions, if made without an understanding or appreciation for the complex systems at work, may lead to incidents and possible injury and losses.)

Safety and the Lean Sigma Scorecard
Measurement is necessary to effectively manage. Senior management understands this well, knowing that the measurement system influences and drives organizational behavior. Effective measurement has to be predictive as well as prescriptive in nature if it is to provide data and information for managing performance. Many organizations have discovered that measurement is difficult because it is not an exact science. There are no hard-and-fast rules of how to go about creating metrics that provide the critical information necessary to manage effectively.

To make things more complicated, it is difficult to predict the impact on individual behavior and the interactions and interrelationships among existing diverse variables and new ones produced by the new metrics. This is because people are involved, and their actions are inherently unpredictable. Another thing that contributes to the complexity is that important factors often are hard to measure consistently and objectively. To effectively measure this, variability must be designed out of the system.

The Lean Sigma Scorecard provides real-time information of what needs to be addressed in order to improve safety results. Traditionally, to improve safety, we analyze our losses and from this we arrive at a plan to change some aspect of the effort going forward. This analysis establishes our improvement strategy and sets the direction as to what needs to get done to improve the loss picture and control the cost-of-risk.

This method of arriving at a strategy may not necessarily be in alignment with overall operational goals and/or business objectives. This, too, creates some of the difficulty safety faces in the business environment. Site audits also become the source of information that drives improvement strategy. Both audits and loss analysis may not provide the true picture of what exactly is driving the undesirable results by ignoring all system drivers. This approach is out of alignment with the operational, business, and organizational measurements used to manage the business. Integrated and aligned metrics will show managers that safety in fact has the “right” strategy in order to get the results needed or expected.

This article originally appeared in the January 2008 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

Download Center

  • Hand Safety Program

    Hand injuries are the #1 preventable industrial accident worldwide. In REThink Hand Safety, the most comprehensive book on hand safety, you'll learn how top companies have reduced hand injuries by up to 90% and what the most successful hand safety programs have in common. Get your free copy today.

  • Free 1-on-1 Consultations

    Get a free meeting with a Superior Glove hand safety expert and learn how to have less hand injuries, lower PPE costs, and increase worker productivity. 1-on-1 consultations provide you with personalized advice and recommendations for your specific needs and concerns.

  • Glove 101 Guide

    In this comprehensive guide, we've compiled all the key information you need to know about safety gloves to help you make informed decisions when choosing gloves for your workers. Whether you're new to the world of safety gloves or an experienced pro, this guide has something for everyone.

  • Sample Program

    Find the right safety gloves for your team and try before you buy—in just 3 easy steps! Simply add the products to your sample box, complete the request form, and wait for your samples to arrive at no cost to you.

  • Cut Protection Product Guide

    Find the right safety gloves for your workers to protect them from cut hazards. This guide offers a wide selection of gloves, including ultra-thin gloves with the industry’s maximum cut resistance for unbeatable dexterity and touch sensitivity.

  • Superior Glove

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - February March 2023

    February March 2023


      Does Real-Time Data Enhance Gas Detection Programs?
      Hearing Protection: The Dangers of Non-Compliance
      Personal Protective Equipment: The Pains of Staying Pain-Free
      Reframing Eyewear: Meeting Workforce Needs with Technology and Advancements
    View This Issue